What can biblical health laws and the principles of godly love teach us about overcoming a major pandemic? More than you might think!
In the early months of this year, much of our world was engulfed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every one of you reading this article will have your own story to relate about how the coronavirus impacted your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Once the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic on 10 March 2020, it was not long before we in the UK were all instructed to stay indoors and most of the economy came to a juddering halt. Suddenly, we were in a very different world, with its own lexicon of terms.
Our vocabularies expanded, as did our confusion, as we learned about coronaviruses, complex statistics and testing, contact tracing, epidemiologists, flattening the curve, herd immunity, lockdown, social distancing, ventilators, viral load, vaccines, and controversial, unpronounceable therapeutics like hydroxy-chloroquine (HCQ).
Our ways of life and patterns of living were starkly disrupted. This writer was one of those deemed to be at particular risk. Consequently, I was instructed in early March to stay in my home until June, later extended to July. I have been told that, by the time you read this, those limitations may be re-imposed.
For months, I was only allowed out for daily exercise for a short period each day, as long as I stayed away from everyone in my vicinity. But all supplies and provisions had to be brought to me. I became utterly dependent on others. And it seemed that politicians, medical authorities, and media constantly fed us a diet of alarmism that created a sense of hysteria in some, and in many a fear of imminent infection and death.
Americans familiar with Dr. Anthony Fauci may not have heard of the UK’s Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist who developed a computer model he claimed would accurately predict the course of the pandemic. He had used it on several occasions dating from 2001–2002 for foot-and-mouth disease (FMDV) and mad cow disease (BSE); 2005 for bird flu (H5N1); and 2009 for swine flu (H1N1)—though none of his alarmist predictions actually proved to be accurate (“Who is Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College London virus modeller and Government scientific adviser,” The Telegraph, May 5, 2020).
In mid-March of this year, Ferguson claimed that up to 500,000 Britons could die unless there was an immediate lockdown, pending the development of a suitable vaccine. His advice caused British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reverse prior policy in an attempt to “follow the science” (“The terrifying data behind the government’s sudden coronavirus lockdown,” The Telegraph, March 17, 2020). But was Ferguson’s computer model delivering genuine science?
The lockdown policy was taken up by many nations and strongly influenced policy in the United States. Yet, as real-life data emerged, Ferguson’s figures had to be progressively and severely downgraded. His initial advice proved to be controversial, alarmist, and inaccurate, and some experts evaluated his computer programme as unreliable. Ferguson was finally forced to resign as government advisor after he was caught breaking his own lockdown rules—quite a contrast to the U.S., where mayors, governors, and members of Congress have kept their jobs despite violating rules they have endorsed for others.
If one is alert to it, more and more information can be found to provide a huge backstory to this pandemic crisis—a backstory that may be hard to find amidst the loud proclamations from some who falsely claim that COVID-19 is nothing but a hoax, while others tell us that we are on the inevitable verge of another catastrophe on the level of last century’s 1918–20 Spanish Flu. What do both extremes have in common? They want to incite fear.
On the one hand, some charlatans are trying to grow rich by promoting unproven and even dangerous treatments and “cures” for COVID-19. Yet other vested interests have shown themselves unwilling to acknowledge the variety of cheap and effective treatments that have helped many patients endure and recover from their illness. What do both extremes have in common?
They want to incite fear.
Certainly, those with compromised immune systems and serious ailments can be severely affected by COVID-19, but even many of those can recover with sensible treatment. And, for a few—especially the elderly who often have other health issues—COVID-19 can be a very serious, life-threatening illness, not to be minimised! But one could say the same about so many other life-threatening ailments that we take for granted today. Where are the experts advocating lockdowns for automobile fatalities or tobacco-related illness? If we approached our whole lives with the fear some bring to COVID-19, we would be paralyzed and unable to act at all!
Thankfully, as we learn more about COVID-19, it is clear that the overall IFR (Infection Fatality Rate) reveals a death rate far lower than was once expected. The vast majority of those infected will not die of the virus and may not even know they have had it (we call such cases asymptomatic). Indeed, merely “testing positive” for COVID-19 may not mean the virus is active or infectious or that the “positive” person even feels ill. In such an environment, it certainly makes sense for public health authorities to establish measures, such as social distancing and wearing of face masks under some circumstances, to protect those most vulnerable to the worst effects of the virus. And lockdowns? Well, quarantines are a time-honored prescription found even in your Bible. But is there even one government leader today who would be willing to follow the Bible’s quarantine approach and its whole prescription for the health of communities? Caught amidst fear-mongers on all sides, how can we individually find the right balance between caution and action?
As our Editor in Chief, Gerald Weston, has consistently pointed out in his articles and videos, the COVID-19 pandemic was totally preventable. If we would believe in God and act on that belief—following the Way of life He reveals in Scripture, which includes dietary laws, prescriptions for handling infectious diseases, and standards for quarantine—we would enjoy a much higher level of vibrant good health.
Scripture tells us, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7–8). “Fear” here does not mean terror; it means that we should respect God as the one infallible expert—an expert who, we must remember, has designed the human body with an incredibly efficient immune defence system. This is a priceless asset, and we should allow it to do the job God designed it for, instead of crippling it with poor lifestyle choices (e.g., eating unclean foods, smoking, or taking dangerous “recreational” drugs) that go against God’s clear instructions.
“Expert” medical advice may change daily, while politicians, drug companies, and fear-mongers will promote their own interests. But, if we fear God, we need not live in fear. We can be positive and hopeful, knowing that we are following the best guidance of all! Yes, we must do our part fully, exercising prudent measures, but we must never forget that God is our Healer. Trusting God is not a substitute for timely and well-considered action, but we must never underestimate His power as a miracle-working God. For more on how His guidance can sustain you in the present and bring you immeasurable future blessings, read our booklet Biblical Principles of Health at TomorrowsWorld.org, or order your own free printed copy.